Can my Job Fire me For Being Pregnant?
The prospect of becoming a parent is an exciting one and it can also cause a range of different feelings, not least of all a feeling of trepidation regarding job security. In many places, it is illegal to fire an employee due to pregnancy or childbirth, however there are certain nuances to the law and certain clauses employers may use to their advantage.
Federal vs State Law
The law surrounding pregnancy and employment varies throughout the United States, as some are governed at a Federal level such as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1967 (PDA), and other states have created legislation. Generally speaking the law provides protection for expectant mothers on the basis of discrimination or dismissal from employment due to their pregnancy or parental status, or any related condition. It is illegal for any job to fire you because of your pregnancy, and additionally you are entitled to other benefits such as disability leave.
Exceptions to the Law
There are exceptions however, as the law does not always make an employer offer the same benefits, or benefits at all, as offered to other non-pregnant employees. Additionally, businesses with fewer than 15 employees are not covered by the PDA, and no protection is offered for smaller organizations.
Other considerations that may still see you lose your job are if:
- you cannot perform the essential functions of your job
- you are unable to work due to complications with your pregnancy
- you decide to not return to work after your maternity leave
Fortunately, many businesses treat pregnancy with the respect it deserves, however there are exceptions. It is always best to check with a lawyer in your state if you are worried about any particular legalities surrounding your job security while pregnant.